Home Moorestown News Samaritan shines light on lost loved ones

Samaritan shines light on lost loved ones

Samaritan held its annual Tree of Life: Season of Light illumination program earlier this month at its Mount Laurel headquarters so the community could remember and honor loved ones this holiday.

Attendees also dedicated a symbolic light in memory of individuals who have passed or in honor of someone special in their life.

“On behalf of all of our Samaritan staff, volunteers and board of trustees, thank you for joining us in what has become a cherished Samaritan tradition, our annual Tree of Life ceremony,” said Phillip Heath, president and CEO of Samaritan.

It was the first time the event had been held in person since 2019, and the first time in one location.

“For some of you, this may be your first Samaritan Tree of Life,” Heath added. “Perhaps you are grieving a recent loss. Others of you return year after year, embracing this special ceremony as part of your family’s annual holiday traditions.

“We are honored and grateful that each of you has chosen to be with us, to celebrate the lives of those who are near and dear to you.”

Following Heath’s remarks, there were music and readings, but not before he thanked Samaritan’s staff and volunteers for putting the event together and quoted from Rosemary Burgo, a poet Samaritan cared for: “Connected we were, connected we are, connected we will always be.”

Samaritan board chair Gregory Button then addressed the crowd.

“We stand here tonight, each with our own unique memories and notions, yet we also stand as a community to honor our loved ones and share recognition of the place they continue to hold in our hearts,” he noted. “Here’s what makes tonight so special – no one goes through life untouched by personal grief and loss or by the legacy of generations passed.”

Proceeds from the Tree of Life ceremony benefit the more than 11,000 Samaritan patients and families who utilize hospice and other Samaritan services each year. For more on the event, visit www.samaritannj.org/tree.

“The glow of light from the tree and the glow of light within each of us are beautiful reminders of those who we hold in our hearts,” Heath said during closing remarks. “Most importantly, special thanks to all who dedicated a light in memory of a loved one. Your generosity allows us to reach out to other families to offer hope, comfort and a dignified life at a time when every moment is precious.”

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